Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emma Hinchliffe here this morning. Theresa May is under threat, women are more capable of being emotionally supportive at home no matter what’s happening at work (and vice versa), and a new startup tackles the murky world of workplace discrimination. Have a marvelous Monday.
• The startup tackling discrimination. When I sat down with Ariella Steinhorn and Mary Rinaldi in December, it had been less than six months since both were pushed out of jobs at small, male-dominated New York startups.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, the pair had quickly bonded over their similar experiences—surviving what they describe as toxic work environments, enduring the emotional toll taken by those environments, and, crucially, their relief at finding employment attorneys who were able to guide them through severance negotiations.
That common experience inspired the duo to launch Simone, a small, very early-stage startup that’s working to connect people in crisis at work with attorneys, and eventually, with therapists and career coaches.
Steinhorn and Rinaldi’s startup is part of a cottage industry of businesses that have launched or found traction in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Some aim to provide big-data insights to corporations on sexual harassment in their workforces; others want to connect victims of sexual harassment with others who name the same perpetrator.
But unlike some of the companies in its cohort, Simone’s focus is less on the acute problem of sexual harassment, and more on the murkier area of workplace discrimination, which can take a host of difficult-to-pin-down forms. It’s an area that’s ripe for attention, attorneys say. Workers who suspect they’re experiencing discrimination at work, but aren’t ready or able to pursue a full-scale lawsuit, have historically struggled to find resources that can help them navigate their way through such thorny situations.
As Steinhorn says of the pair’s thinking when they first came up with the idea: “Maybe this just happened to us. Maybe we are outliers. But we had a suspicion that wasn’t the case.”
Read the story for more on how Simone plans to get employees the resources they need—and why that’s such a daunting challenge.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Going public. In her first interview since accusing Virginia lieutenant governor Justin E. Fairfax of rape (he’s denied the allegation), Meredith Watson reflects on the added challenges faced by black women who come forward with allegations of sexual assault by black men. “You’re not supposed to betray your race,” Watson says of the added layer of fears she had about going public.
New York Times
• Therexit? British Prime Minister Theresa May is under increasing pressure to resign. Hardcore Brexiteers in her own party wanted her scheduled departure date in exchange for their support of her Brexit deal. She seems to have fended off that challenge—at least for the moment. Lawmakers will continue to debate the next steps in the now-delayed Brexit process today.
• Booming at Bowdoin. Bowdoin College in Maine has outperformed all eight Ivy League schools when it comes to the return on its endowment. The school’s 8.8% return is thanks to Paula Volent, who runs the endowment in a field where women make up only 16% of managers in that job. Her background in fine arts makes her a creative and unorthodox asset manager.
New York Times
• What weakness? Our Trailblazers video series continues with Google’s Mara Chomsky. As the company’s global lead for local guides, Chomsky says the greatest challenge in her career is that she’s an introvert. She has some useful tips on how to go toe-to-toe with the most natural of extroverts.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Softbank’s Vision Fund promoted Lydia Jett to partner, the second woman among the group. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, known for issuing billion-dollar fines against tech giants, joined a liberal campaign in the European parliamentary elections that signals she will try to become the next president of the European Commission. Heather Brooks Karatz was named president of the XFL football team in Los Angeles. E.l.f. Beauty hired Mandy Fields as SVP and CFO. Now that the Disney-Fox merger is complete, Disney said it would shutter Fox 2000, the label run by Elizabeth Gabler; her future at the new company isn’t yet clear. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz will run for governor of Puerto Rico. Christina Scheppelmann will become general director of the Seattle Opera, making her one of only two women to run one of the U.S.’s large-budget opera companies.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The emotional support gap. When men have tough days at work, it detracts from their ability to listen and offer emotional support at home. When women arrive at home after work, however, they’re still able to offer that kind of support to their partners. The reverse applies as well; women are also able to be more supportive colleagues at work even after difficult mornings at home.
Harvard Business Review
• When there are half. Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously said there would be enough women on the Supreme Court “when there are nine”—there’s even a new beer named after the quote—and her U.K. counterpart agrees. Brenda Hale, president of the U.K. Supreme Court, called this weekend for better gender representation on the bench. “We should be half of judges at least,” Hale said.
• Airline ups and downs. United became the first U.S. airline last week to offer non-binary gender options for travelers booking tickets; customers can also choose the honorific “Mx.” Meanwhile, at JetBlue two pilots are accused in a lawsuit of drugging and raping female crew members.
• Anti-abortion bills galore. The past month has seen a notable surge in Republican-controlled states passing anti-abortion measures: there’s the “fetal heartbeat” laws in Mississippi and Kentucky, similar bills moving through the governments in Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee, and laws outlawing abortion after 18 weeks in Arkansas and Utah. Those pieces of legislation, however, are encountering roadblocks throughout the court system.
Wall Street Journal